Egypt moves constitution referendum date

The delay in expected date for a referendum on the constitution comes a day after a ban on public protests was imposed.

    Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi has said that a referendum on the constitution will take place in the second half of January, rather than next month as expected.

    The constitutional is currently being drafted, and the nationwide referendum is a part of a multi-staged political roadmap put in by the army on July 3, following the ouster of the country's first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

    "I believe that it will take place in the second half of January," Beblawi told reporters. He did not give any reasons for the delay.

    The referendum, according to the roadmap, will pave the way for presidential and legislative elections to follow later that year.

    A committee of 50 members started working in September on amending a constitution that was pushed forth by Morsi, and deemed by his critics as favoring austere interpretations of Islam at the expense of freedoms.

    The panel, which was given a 60-day deadline by the army to complete the draft, includes only few Islamists as the majority refuse to engage with the incumbent government, and continue to stage protests denouncing the military coup that toppled Morsi.

    Leaked copies of initial amendments to the document show a desire to curb the influence of Islamic laws as well as facilitate the return of figures linked to Hosni Mubarak's regime, who was ousted in the 2011 uprising. 

    Prolonged unrest

    Hundreds of pro-Morsi have been killed since July and thousands have been detained, while the western peninsula of Sinai has witnessed months of almost-daily attacks by armed groups targeting security forces.

    The announcement comes a day after the interim president Adli Mansour passed a law banning public gatherings and protests. The bill has stirred a row among activists and human rights groups.

    The North African country's government ended a three-month state of emergency and curfew which was imposed following the July coup.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Meet the hardline group willing to do anything, including going against their government, to claim land for Israel.